My 1.85 Cents on the Bailout Bill

I’m no economist. In fact, I don’t deserve to live in the same town as the guy who hands out the ‘economist’ name tags. With that in mind, I have two ill-informed reactions to today’s signing of the US $700 million billion (whoops, wishing thinking) bailout bill into law:

  • For many, many years, Wall Street demanded and received decreased regulation. They repeatedly called for less and less government intervention into the free market. Now, having royally screwed the pooch in this unregulated atmosphere, they get saved by what? Government intervention. Does anybody else find this repellent?
  • I have yet to hear a clearly articulated explanation of the alternative outcome–no bailout–for the average American (not to mention the average Canadian). Yes, it’ll be bad news, but I have no sense of how bad. And, you know, I’ve been paying attention.

It must be pretty weird to live in the US these days. On top of impending (and possibly averted) economic disaster, you’re living through one of the weirdest presidential elections in history. I watched some of the US vice-presidential debate last night (and some of the Canadian leadership debate and some of the hockey game), and I continue to be shocked that Governor Palin might one day run this country. If Americans put Senator McCain and Governor Palin in the Whitehouse, they get the governance they deserve.

Here are two tangential links that political junkies have probably already seen: the Sarah Palin debate flow chart, and the hilarious earmarks and pork attached to the bailout bill.

Do we do this–attach all sorts of irrelevant extras to legislation–in Canada? I’m embarrassed that I don’t know.


  1. I’m sitting at my dining room table, surrounded by the knitting projects I’m taking on holidays with me, so section 325 cracked me up a little (duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds).

  2. “Do we do this–attach all sorts of irrelevant extras to legislation–in Canada? I’m embarrassed that I don’t know.”

    I don’t think so. The US doesn’t seem to have the equivalent of our Finance Ministry – i.e., some central group responsible for prioritizing and coordinating spending. Many (if not most) of these US earmarks probably represent worthwhile expenditures, but they should be debated and passed on their own merits .

  3. Speaking for all angry Americans, we agree Darren. Especially with the legitimacy of a McCain Palin administration. It’s an affront to thinking people.

    About the economy and the Canadian system, I’ve had this idea in my head for a while. It seems to me that we’re seeing the scars from the cold war. The McCarthy era of the cold war left deep deep scars in the conservatives of the US. So deep in fact that anything ANYTHING that even smacks of socialism is deftly removed from the table. To many it is inconceivable that there may be elements of a socialist system (in our case increased regulation) that could work for the US. We won the cold war! (they might say)
    This attitude, and the undying belief in the free market that contributed to this mess. I’m a believer in capitalism, but I think there is middle ground where we have to have protections in place.

    I’ll stop now and tell you, if there are earmarks in Canada, they should be known as Beaver Barrel Spending.

  4. Richard: D’oh, that’s fixed. There should be a WordPress plugin that permits regular commenters to make small edits to one’s posts. I’d find that quite satisfying as a reader on other sites.

    Lee: The Beaver Barrel is actually a strip bar in Moose Jaw. Or else it should be.

  5. “Do we do this–attach all sorts of irrelevant extras to legislation–in Canada? I’m embarrassed that I don’t know.”

    Canada most certainly does this sort of thing. We wouldn’t get much legislation passed at all (especially during minority governments) if this sort of thing didn’t happen. Legislation (like sausage) comes in packages and you never really know what’s inside them.

    I would argue that even important changes like the Meech Lake and Charlottetown accords contained so much of this sort of thing that it was a leading cause of their failures.

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